|Contestants pose for the judges during the auditions for the first Miss Trans Israel beauty pageant in Tel Aviv, Thursday, March 3, 2016 (AP Photo/Ariel Shalit)
Auditions for the first ever Israeli transgender beauty pageant, Miss Trans Israel, took place in Tel Aviv this past week. Around thirty transwomen went to the auditions, organized by Israela Stephanie Lev. The pageant will be held on May 28, according to the pageant's Facebook page.
Lev said living as a transwoman in Israel had been “terrible” in the past, but that now things were improving.
“Definitely we are achieving, enlightening the people to accept and empower transsexuals,” she told the Associated Press.
Contestants such as Abu Hanna, a 21-year-old whose family is Catholic Arab took part in the pageant.
She said her family is supportive of her, and that she can sing, dance and play the trumpet.
“I have something to give the people”, Hanna said, going on to say “We are normal people. This is normal.”
A pageant final will take place in May, and the winner is to represent Israel at the Miss Trans Star international pageant.
The Trans Star pageant will take place this summer in Spain.
Campaigners earlier this year criticized a transgender beauty pageant which offers the winner gender reassignment surgery. The Miss Gay and Ms Transsexual Australia 2016 pageant was branded “irresponsible” by campaigners.
A finalist in the Miss Galaxy beauty pageant contest also in January spoke out – to claim she was disqualified for being trans.
29-year-old Jossy Yendall says she was elated to find out that she had made it through to the final of the UK competition.
However, she told ITV she was shocked to be told by organizers that she had been dropped from the contest because she’s not ‘biologically’ female.
The winner of the Miss Transgender UK pageant was last month stripped of her crown for not being “full-time” transgender, the organizer has claimed.
The pageant launched for the first time last year – but attracted controversy for offering all-expenses-paid gender reassignment surgery in India as a ‘prize’.
Scottish trans woman Jai Dara Latto was initially named the winner of the contest – but organizer Rachael Bailey hit out at her this week, amid coverage of Latto going on a charity hike.
Source: Pink News, 3/4/2016
***The first paragraph was modified to correct Pink News' statement that the pageant took place, which is false. The pageant will take place on May 28.